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by William Carl Ferleman

12 Jul 2010

The latest version of The Smashing Pumpkins—including new drummer Mike Byrne (who fills heavy shoes) and new bassist Nicole Fiorentino—have recently unveiled the first official track from its second EP, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope, Vol. 2:  The Solstice Bare. “Freak” is available online and for download at no charge. Billy Corgan notes that the 11 EPs he and the band envision will indeed be part of a larger project, an ambitious box set that will entail some 44 songs.

Unlike the previous Teargarden EP, “Freak” largely explores and builds on the Smashing Pumpkins’ earlier, mid-1990s sound while also very subtly hinting at the newly pointed and cultish, lysergic musical atmosphere of, say, “Astral Planes”. In fact, the swirling, hypnotic guitar bit that accompanies the principal riff is nothing but reminiscent of “Astral Planes”. But mainly the song is a marked departure from the first EP in that it doesn’t evince any sort of Led Zeppelin-oriented influence, as did both “A Song for a Son” and “A Stitch in Time”. Instead, “Freak” is particularly indebted to the uncompromisingly grungy B-sides found on Pisces Iscariot (1994). The song “Plume”, for instance, may be a credible forerunner, save that its riff is rather slow and contained. Nirvana’s In Utero (1993) also is a noticeable influence.

Lyrically, Jim Morrison’s sense of the dramatic attracts Corgan. Doors’ songs “Not to Touch the Earth” and the 11-minute rant-theatre “When the Music’s Over” (“What have they done to the earth?”) are unmistakable and flat-out obvious influences, as both are provocative and negotiate with the same topic of “Freak”. Corgan’s verse also seems a bona fide diatribe against the “killing machine”, especially during the largest oil spill in U.S. history. All of this with the Beatlesque honey of “La da da da da da da la da da da da da da da da da”. Corgan partially occludes his distinctive vitriol with the melodic and infectious. That is, “Freak” parallels Mellon Collie’s “Zero” but that the emphatic mellifluousness reigns supreme relative to the latter’s overt anger and angst.

by Jessy Krupa

12 Jul 2010

If I told you that Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob Squarepants was the highest rated show amongst kids, you probably wouldn’t be surprised. If I added that a reasonable portion of its audience is college-age adults, you still probably wouldn’t be surprised. But if I were to tell you that it is the most loved TV show amongst pet parrots, then you might think I’m insane. However, I have proof.

Bird Talk magazine recently asked its readers, “What TV Shows does your bird love?” At the top of their list was SpongeBob. While many kids’ shows made the list, possibly due to their bright colors, the common thread amongst the other responses was theme songs. Not surprisingly, the article also mentioned The Andy Griffith Show and Pink Panther.

by Jonathan Simrin

12 Jul 2010

Philip Seymour Hoffman, ever the critic’s darling, takes a hand at directing in Jack Goes Boating. Unsurprisingly, he seems to be doing what he does best: telling stories of people with simple, relatable problems. The film follows two couples navigating the pitfalls of modern relationships. Hoffman stars as Jack, who is introduced to Connie (Amy Ryan), by way of his friend Clyde (John Ortiz). Jack, a New York limo driver with dreads an affinity for reggae, cautiously approaches his potential new romantic relationship with Connie. His learning to swim seems to be a major component of the process. Complementing Jack and Connie are Clyde and Lucy (Daphne Rubin-Vega), whose marriage is precariously close to falling apart. The film comes from writer Bob Glaudini, who adapted his play for the film’s screenplay.

by Michael Underwood

9 Jul 2010

The second episode of the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers webseries focuses on two friends, Justin Starr and Jimmy Angel, who sneak into an abandoned warehouse to explore. After some horseplay, they accidentally unlock the ability to defy gravity with astonishing dance moves. Justin and Jimmy develop these abilities at the warehouse over weeks and months until a confluence of events sends each of them down their own path.

by Sarah Zupko

9 Jul 2010

Boston power-poppers New Collisions have been touring with ‘80s pop legends Blondie and the B-52s, quite appropriate given that the female-fronted band’s slightly punky brand of pop bears a clear debt to the guitar-driven end of the ‘80s new wave explosion. The band has been scoring some early praise with New York Magazine putting them in their top 10 of CMJ 2009 performances and features in Time Out New York, The Boston Globe, and URB.

New Collisions recorded their upcoming debut album, The Optimist, in a mere 10 days using a live setting to best capture the band’s energy. The album produced by Sean Slade and Paul Kolderie (the Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., Radiohead) will release in all formats on October 1. Today, we offer the exclusive online premiere of the group’s new single “Dying Alone” from the upcoming record.

//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

READ the article